With so many Americans working remotely, telecommuting has soared through the roof this year. Instead of hopping on a train, bus, or into a car to get to the office, many Americans are joining meetings via video conferencing and collaborating from home. As convenient as working from home may be for telecommuters, it also poses serious security threats for companies. 

At the start of lockdown, hackers had a heyday exploiting sensitive company data from unsecured remote employee devices. In fact, data breaches and hackers increased by 400% in the U.S. at the beginning of the pandemic. With data breaches on the rise, companies everywhere are still struggling to secure their employees’ devices from a distance. 

Which states set up their companies for the most telecommuting success?

The team at Go.Verizon.com analyzed the number of data breaches, phishing attacks, malware attacks, internet privacy laws, and more in each state (along with the District of Columbia) to determine the safest places for telecommuters. 

The Breakdown

  • Of the twenty internet privacy laws we analyzed, Delaware implemented eleven (55%).
  • Illinois may have ranked as the 38th state worst for telecommuting breaches, but of the twenty internet privacy laws we analyzed, Illinois implemented eight of the laws, plus a relatively small amount of yearly data breaches (127). The only reason it didn’t rank higher is because there are 1.81 malware breaches per every 100,000 people there—the highest of any state, including DC.
  • Vermont, South Dakota, North Dakota, New Hampshire, and Louisiana each had zero reports of stolen records as a result of a data breach between 2018 and 2019. 
  • Although the Golden State didn’t rank high on our list, California has fifteen internet privacy laws—the most of any state, including DC. As the state that plays host to Silicon Valley, it makes sense that Californians would invest in cybersafety and security.


To rank the safest states for telecommuting, we analyzed five categories:

  • Total number of data breaches from 2018–2019 (35% of overall score): We analyzed all data breaches on a state level that were reported to each state’s respective Attorney General’s Office and/or Department of Health and Human Services. We categorized data breaches as the following: 
    • Hacks by an outside party
    • Malware infection
    • Insider breach (done by an employee, contractor, or customer)
    • Physical breach categorized by misplaced, discarded, or stolen papers, documents, and portable devices
    • Unintended disclosure (i.e., sensitive information posted publicly)
  • Total number of records lost or stolen by data breaches from 2018–2019 (30% of overall score): We included only state-level records that have been reported to the  Attorney General’s Office and/or Department of Health and Human Services for businesses. 
  • Privacy laws by state (10% of overall score): We broke down existing internet privacy laws into 20 categories. A state with laws covering all 20 categories would have a score of 100%. 
  • Victim count and victim loss (25% of overall score): We analyzed total victim count and victim losses for the following crime types in each state, including DC: 
    • Corporate data breaches 
    • Malware/scareware/viruses 
    • Phishing/vishing/smishing/pharming 

From there, we obtained the total number of victim counts and losses per 100,000 people for each category (except the privacy laws) and normalized the total from 0–1 to to obtain a final rank. The higher the score, the lower the ranking.

Please note: the statistics do not consider the population of states, only the number of reported incidents per state.

About Go.Verizon.com: Go.Verizon.com is an authorized premium partner of Verizon. Reporters may send questions to media@verizon-business.com.

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